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Weapons /Arms

Disarming Masculinities


Myrttinen, Henri. 2003. “Disarming Masculinities.” Disarmament Forum: Women, Men, Peace and Security 4: 37–46.

Author: Henri Myrttinen


In this article, the author analyzes some of the ways in which enactments of masculinities and the wielding of weapons go together, as well as the sexualized imagery used in conjunction with weapons. He argues that the public display, the threat of or actual use of weapons is an intrinsic part of violent, militarized models of masculinity. He further states that weapons are part of one notion of masculinity and are used as masculine status symbols. (ISN ETH Zurich)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Sexuality, Violence, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2003

The Use of Rape as a Weapon of War in the Conflict in Darfur, Sudan


Gingerich, Tara, and Jennifer Leaning. 2004. The Use of Rape as a Weapon of War in the Conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Boston: Harvard School of Public Health.

Authors: Tara Gingerich, Jennifer Leaning

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Reproductive Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, International Law, Sexual Violence, Rape, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Sudan

Year: 2004

A Feminist Ethical Perspective on Weapons of Mass Destruction


Cohn, Carol, and Sara Ruddick. 2004. “A Feminist Ethical Perspective on Weapons of Mass Destruction.” In Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives, edited by Sohail H. Hashmi and Steven P. Lee, 405–34. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 

Authors: Carol Cohn, Sara Ruddick

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2004

Addendum to ‘Rape as a Weapon of War’


Card, Claudia. 1997. “Addendum to ‘Rape as a Weapon of War'.” Hypatia 12 (2): 216–8.

Author: Claudia Card


Learning about martial sex crimes against men has made me rethink some of my ideas about rape as a weapon of war and how to respond to it. Such crimes can be as racist as they are sexist and, in the case of male victims, may be quite simply racist.


“Journalist Beverly Allen quotes a United Nations report (Bassiouni 1994) as documenting that the rape and death camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina have also been sites of forced castrations, ‘through crude means such as forcing other internees to bite off a prisoner's testicles’ (Allen 1996, 78)” (Card 1997, 216). 
“Asked whether they were victims of sex crimes, Arcel said, the men answered negatively. She noted that they attached a great stigma to the idea of being the victim of a sex crime. Asked whether they had been tortured by instruments applied to their genitalia, however, the same men answered affirmatively” (216). 
“These reports are evidence, I conclude, that sex crimes in war can be racist as well as misogynist, insofar as they have or are meant to have the consequence of hindering the reproductive continuation of a people” (217). 
“Some sex crimes against men, such as rape, may also carry misogynistic symbolism. But castration, like rape, appears to have its own history of symbolizing domination” (217). 
“Reports of forced castration also raise questions about the idea that integrating women into the military might effectively eliminate, or substantially reduce, rape as a weapon of war” (217). 
“Yet it is worth pointing out in a treatment of the general topic of martial rape that martial sex crimes, including rape, can be racist as well as sexist, and that the rape of women and girls can be the intersection of martial racism and sexism” (218). 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Health, Reproductive Health, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Race, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against men, SV against women, Weapons /Arms

Year: 1997

Double Jeopardy: Women, the US Military and the War in Iraq


Jeffreys, Sheila. 2007. “Double Jeopardy: Women, the US Military and the War in Iraq.” Women’s Studies International Forum 30 (1): 16–25.

Author: Sheila Jeffreys


This article argues that women in the military are in double jeopardy. They face the danger of rape from their male colleagues as well as the ordinary dangers of being killed or wounded by the enemy. They are used to send messages from one masculine military to another in their very bodies. This is particularly clear in the case of Lynndie England and the Abu Ghraib tortures where her womanhood, and sexual use of her by her comrades, were used as weapons to humiliate Iraqi prisoners. This sexual violence from their own side is the result of the fact that militaries are founded upon an aggressive masculinity that is vital to enable warfare to continue. For this reason the argument that it is important from the point of view of equal opportunities for women to be in all areas of the military, including the frontline, falls down. If aggressive masculinity is the necessary foundation of the military rather than being an unfortunate hangover of patriarchy, then women cannot be equal in this institution. Women's organizations should not be using the language of women's rights in calling for the subjection of women to these forms of violence.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, SV against women, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2007

The Gun on the Kitchen Table: The Sexist Subtext of Private Policing in Israel


Mazali, Rela. 2009. "The Gun on the Kitchen Table: The Sexist Subtext of Private Policing in Israel." In Gender Perspectives on Small Arms and Light Weapons., eds. Vanessa Farr, Albrecht Schnabel. New York: UN University Press.

Author: Rela Mazali

Keywords: private security, non-state policing

Topics: Age, Gender, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2009

'Guards and Guns': Towards Privatised Militarism in Post-Apartheid South Africa


Cock, Jacklyn. 2005. 'Guards and Guns': Towards Privatised Militarism in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies 31 (4): 791-803.

Author: Jacklyn Cock


This article argues that contemporary South Africa is marked by the coexistence of both old and new forms of militarism. A shallow and uneven process of state demilitarisation was underway between 1990 to 1998 in the form of reductions in military expenditure, weapons holdings, force levels, employment in arms production and base closures. However, this has had contradictory consequences including providing an impetus to a 'privatised militarism' that is evident in three related processes: new forms of violence, the growth of private security firms and the proliferation of small arms. Since 1998 a process of re-militarisation is evident in the use of the military in foreign policy and a re-armament programme. Both trends illustrate how a restructured, but not transformed, post-apartheid army represents a powerful block of military interests. (JSTOR)

Keywords: private security, militarization

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Militarism, Post-Conflict, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2005


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